Legislators Informed of Hazards and Opposition to #SB649: Will Your Officials Vote With The People Or With The Telecom Industry?

Update as of October 15, 2017: Governor Brown has vetoed SB649. Here is a link to the official notice and a screenshot of the letter below. See more below.

[Update as of October 1st, 2017]
The Telecom lobby has muscled its way to push legislative votes on SB649 with Governor Brown holding the final decision to either sign or veto the bill by October 15th. The following is a petition to sign and share.  Please also take action by calling (916) 445-2841 and writing to Governor Brown’s office to urge a VETO of SB 649.

For more, see below the following article by Bruce Kushnick: “Open Letter to California about SB649: You’re Being Played by ALEC & AT&T Et Al.” 

Kushnik includes detailed evidence of each of the claims and reveals,

“This Proposed Bill Is a Con and It Is Based on “Model Legislation” Created by AT&T Et Al. and ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The NW News Network writes about what’s going on in Washington state.

“According to The Wireless Association, 5G legislation is under consideration in some 30 states this year, although it won’t say where or provide details. The corporate-backed American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC, has also passed a resolution calling on states to “streamline” local permitting of small cell technology.” (Emphasis added)

And Palmbeach.com reported on identical legislation in Florida in July 20117:

“Municipalities say the bill is one-sided, would take away their ability to control where 5G equipment is installed and totally favors telecommunications giants such as AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. The companies want the right to install their equipment on utility poles in rights-of-way.

“Senate Bill 596 sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast and House Bill 687, sponsored by Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud, would create the “Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Act” and prohibit the Florida Department of Transportation and local governmental entities from prohibiting, regulating or charging for collocation of small wireless facilities in public rights-of-way.”

Did you think that California was special? Like a whack-a-mole, the telcos and their associations have created a state-by-state attack on the public interest for their own interests.

Worse, former Verizon attorney, now-FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, and former lawyer to AT&T, Verizon, and the CTIA, (The Wireless Association) now-new FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, are directly in on this with ALEC model legislation written for the FCC to preempt state and city laws and regulations.” 

In addition to the above compelling reasons to vote down the legislation, Kushnik articulates the history of past telecom sponsored bills and how SB649 is also poised to be a power grab, asset transfer, and bait and switch. Kushnik concludes:

This is the future – the states and the federal government conspire with the companies to trash the state utilities, shut down the retail wired networks and push customers onto inferior, less reliable and expensive wireless services controlled by a few companies whose greatest skill is to take control of the regulators and legislators and fool the public and media.

There should be immediate investigations. Those who vote for this bill should be challenged at the next election and questioned why they work for AT&T et al. and not their own constituents.”

[Below is the original post on EduResearcher from August 22nd.]

As time marches closer to the legislative votes on SB649, a groundswell of opposition is mounting. As of August 21st, over 271 cities and towns, 47 counties, 47 planning and municipal organizations, and 53 environment, health, consumer, and justice organizations have opposed the bill.  Scientists and doctors have also been speaking out. Dr. Joel Moskowitz, Professor of Public Health at University of California Berkeley and Director of the Center for Family and Community Health has written extensively about hazards of electromagnetic radiation on SaferEMR.com and has recently published a letter by UC San Diego Professor of Medicine, Dr. Beatrice Golomb on his research page. Dr. Golomb begins with the following statement:

I urge in the strongest terms that you vigorously oppose California SB 649. If this bill passes, many people will suffer greatly, and needlessly, as a direct result. This sounds like hyperbole. It is not.

My research group at UC San Diego alone has received hundreds of communications from people who have developed serious health problems from electromagnetic radiation, following introduction of new technologies. Others with whom I am in communication, have independently received hundreds of similar reports. Most likely these are a tip of an iceberg of tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of affected people. As each new technology that leads to further electromagnetic radiation exposure is introduced — and particularly introduced in a fashion that prevents vulnerable individuals from avoiding it — a new group becomes sensitized. This is particularly true for pulsed signals in the radiowave and microwave portion of the spectrum, the type that the proposed Bill SB.649 will promote.

Mechanisms by which health effects are exerted have been shown to include oxidative stress (the type of injury against which antioxidants protect (see optional section below), damage to mitochondria (the energy producing parts of cells), damage to cell membranes1,21an impaired blood-brain barrier3-5 (the blood brain barrier defends the brain against introduction of foreign substances and toxins; additionally, disruption can lead to brain edema6), constriction of blood vessels and impaired blood flow to the brain7, and triggering of autoimmune reactions8,9.”…

[To read the full letter, click on this link or the image below.] 

The California Alliance for Safer Technology also cites health and safety hazards with the pending deployments, highlighting the research of Martin Pall, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University.

 “Dr. Pall is an expert in how wireless radiation impacts the electrical systems in our bodies. He explains wireless emissions disrupt the electromagnetics of each cell, impacting one aspect of the cell, the voltage sensor, with a force over 7 million times compared other parts of the same cell. The FCC guidelines for microwave radiation consider only potential heating effects from the radiation, but not the electromagnetic effects, he says.

In a Letter to Legislators, Dr. Pall said, “It would be a disaster for the health of Californians to be exposed to the antennas envisioned in SB.649.” Pall says, “Thousands of published studies show biological and health effects from electromagnetic fields. We now know the mechanism that can explain these effects…The EMFs put forces on the voltage sensor that controls the VGCCs (Voltage-Gated Calcium Channels) of about 7.2 million times greater than the forces on other charged groups in our cells. This is why weak EMFs have such large biological effects on the cells of our bodies.” Accompanying Dr. Pall’s Letter to CA Legislators are references to 134 Scientific Reviews, each of which “provides from 12 to over a thousand individual citations showing health impacts of low intensity EMFs, EMFs that the telecommunications industry claims cannot have such effects.” 

Dr. Pall says, “higher frequency electromagnetic fields from 5G technologies on the horizon pose even greater biological concern than those to which we are exposed today.” He says the human species faces extinction risk due to the DNA mutations known to be already occurring, and that “further increases in exposures will be more rapidly self-destructive.”

Several other states have similar legislation in process, whereby utility poles, street lamps and other municipal infrastructure would be leased to wireless companies at cut rates for placement of small cell, high-frequency antennas, densely placed throughout neighborhoods, as often as every few houses.

Over 200 California cities, major CA newspapers, the AARP and the California Alliance for Safer Technology, an alliance of health and environmental advocacy groups, are opposed to SB.649, and for a myriad of reasons, including the usurpation of local government authority over municipal infrastructure, economic and financial concerns, privacy considerations due to pervasive antennas, liability for data misuse, real estate devaluation, aesthetics, historic preservation, environmental risks, and the health and DNA risks addressed in Dr. Pall’s letter to legislators.

Related legislation, S.19, the “Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless Act,” or the Mobile Now Act, which passed the U.S. Senate August 3, 2017 and has been sent to the House, similarly seeks to facilitate pervasive transmitting antennas throughout the Unites States on behalf of the wireless industry, including the use of federal infrastructure, antennas Dr. Pall advises against.

“We should be moving, instead, to wired technologies at every opportunity, based on what we know in science today, not expanding and supporting the proliferation of wireless,” says Dr. Pall.”

National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy
Camilla Rees, MBA, 415-992-5093
Senior Policy Advisor

The League of California Cities has also documented widespread opposition and includes on their site an extensive list of articles that have been written to halt the bill. The following summary is provided:

This proposal represents a major shift in telecommunications policy and law by 1) requiring local governments to lease out the public’s property; 2) cap how much cities can lease this space out for, eliminate the ability for cities to negotiate public benefits; 3) the public’s input and full discretionary review in all communities of the state except for areas in coastal zones and historic districts, for the installation of “small cell” wireless equipment.

As amended, the bill is no longer limited to just “small cells.” SB 649 now applies broadly to all telecommunications providers and the equipment they use from “micro-wireless” to “small cell” to “macro-towers.” It’s clear from the direction of this bill, that the intent is not about 5G wireless deployment, but rather local deregulation of the entire telecommunications industry. This latest version places a new ban on city/county regulation of placement or operation of “communication facilities” within and outside the public right of way far beyond “small cells.” This new language would extend local preemption of regulation to any “provider authorized by state law to operate in the rights of way,” which can include communications facilities installed for services such as gas, electric, and water, leaving cities and counties with limited oversight only over “small cells.”

Despite the wireless industry’s claim that the equipment would be “small” in their attempt to justify this special permitting and price arrangement solely for their industry, the bill would allow for antennas as large as six cubic feet, equipment boxes totaling 35 cubic feet (larger than previous bill version of 21 cubic feet), with no size or quantity limitations for the following equipment: electric meters, pedestals, concealment elements, demarcation boxes, grounding equipment, power transfer switches, and cutoff switches.”

  • “SB 649 ties the hands of local government by prohibiting discretionary review of “small cell” wireless antennas and related equipment, regardless of whether they will be collocated on existing structures or located on new “poles, structures, or non-pole structures,” including those within the public right-of-way.
  •  SB 649 shuts out the public from the permitting process and preempts adopted local land use plans by mandating that “small cells” be allowed in all zones as a use by-right.
  •  SB 649 provides a de facto exemption to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the installation of such facilities and precludes consideration by the public of the aesthetic, nuisance impacts, and other environmental impacts of these facilities.
  • SB 649 will cap lease agreements for use of public property at $250 (it was $850 under the prior version of the bill) annually per attachment rates for each “small cell.” In contrast, some cities have been able to negotiate leases for “small cells” upwards of $3,000, while others have negotiated “free” access to public property in exchange for a host of tangible public benefits. The cap lease agreement is problematic because these leases provide your local government with revenue that can goes back to public services in your community. The net effect with this cap lease agreement is that your local government could cutback services in your community.”
How will your Assemblymember vote? Will they listen to the overwhelming public opposition or will they be beholden to the Telecom industry lobby?  The list below is of California Assemblymembers who will be voting when the bill is heard at the Assembly Appropriations Committee on September 1st. The public can listen to the hearing here.

Assembly Appropriations Committee Office Phone Social Media Handle
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (Chair) [D] 916-319-2080 @LorenaAD80
Frank Bigelow (Vice Chair) [R] 916-319-2005 @FrankBigelowCA
Richard Bloom [D] 916-319-2050 @RichardBloom
Raul Bocanegra [D] 916-319-2039 @AsmBocanegra
Rob Bonta [D] 916-319-2018 @RobBonta
William Brough [R] 916-319-2073 @BillBroughCA
Ian Calderon [D] 916-319-2057 @IanCalderon
Ed Chau [D] 916-319-2049 @EdChau49
Susan Talamantes Eggman [D] 916-319-2013 @AsmSusanEggman
Vince Fong [R] 916-319-2034 @vfong
Laura Friedman [D] 916-319-2043 @laurafriedman43
James Gallagher [R] 916-319-2003 @J_GallagherAD3
Eduardo Garcia [D] 916-319-2056 @AsmEGarciaAD56
Eloise Gómez Reyes [D] 916-319-2047 @reyes4assembly
Adam Gray [D] 916-319-2021 @AdamGrayCA
Reginald Jones-Sawyer [D] 916-319-2059 @JonesSawyer59
Jay Obernolte [R] 916-319-2033 @JayObernolte
Email addresses for Assemblymembers above are provided below:
assemblymember.gonzalezfletcher@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.bigelow@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.bloom@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.bocanegra@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.bonta@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.brough@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.calderon@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.chau@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.eggman@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.fong@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.friedman@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.gallagher@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.eduardogarcia@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.reyes@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.gray@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.jones-sawyer@asm.ca.gov, assemblymember.jay.obernolte@asm.ca.gov

To find your legislator’s contact information, see this page: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/.
Please also take a few seconds to sign the petition below. Click on the image below or here.
For readers interested to learn more about the kinds of liability disclosures that are shared with the Telecom industry investors, see this link.  The California Alliance for Safer Tech and the California Brain Tumour Association have been active in fighting this bill.  The following websites also include important information about the science and legal shifts here and here. To learn more about the history of issues described above as they intersect with the FCC, read Captured Agency by Norm Alster of the Center for Ethics at Harvard University.  

2 thoughts on “Legislators Informed of Hazards and Opposition to #SB649: Will Your Officials Vote With The People Or With The Telecom Industry?

  1. Pingback: What Will Facebook Terragraph, 5G, and Being a “Smart City” Mean for San José? | EduResearcher

  2. Pingback: What Will Facebook Terragraph, 5G, and Being a “Smart City” Mean for San José Residents? – Seattle Education

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